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Just a few miles from the touristy glitz, however, a strong and stable art scene lies in the industrial area of Al Quoz, where artists have been testing conventions and beliefs in the United Arab Emirates since the 1980s alongside pioneering dealers who have sold work to increasingly cultivated collectors for more than a decade.And now a show of works by another community of artists—this one from the historical lore of downtown New York—is on view at the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, a private museum on Al Quoz’s Alserkal Avenue.“Artist Run New York: The Seventies,” a group exhibition featuring 44 works by 18 artists including Richard Nonas, Tina Girouard, Trisha Brown, Richard Tuttle, and Gordon Matta-Clark, prompts conversations about the resonance of art from a very different time and place.
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Rallied by anti-establishment feelings triggered by the Vietnam War and bad urban planning that blighted New York at the time, So Ho artists were skeptical of authority in all its forms—from government to the art establishment.
What mattered most was testing conventions in a methodical way. If the result isn’t predetermined, it is executed by this ongoing questioning.”Half of the pieces in the exhibition are on loan while the core of the work comes from the collection of the late Jean-Paul Najar, a deeply philosophical half-Colombian, half-Egyptian patron.